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Monday, September 26, 2005

Ariel Sharon Wins Likud Vote!

[Media Source*]

(Voice of America) Prime Minister Sharon narrowly won a crucial vote in his Likud party, fending off a challenge from former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Mr. Netanyahu hoped to oust Mr. Sharon because he defied Likud ideology by dismantling 21 Gaza settlements[...]

A Likud official announced that by a margin of just 104 votes, the Central Committee rejected Mr. Netanyahu's bid to advance elections for the party leadership to this November-five months ahead of schedule. Now, Mr. Sharon will remain at the helm of the Likud until April.

This is probably a wise move for the Likud party, who although rightfully feel betrayed by Ariel Sharon, would have lost the general elections (assuming he would form a new party) as Sharon's actions have popular support across Israel. Ariel Sharon has been pounding Gaza, forcing Hamas to throw in the towel (at least for this round). Benjamin Netanyahu has accepted the results and will probably wait until April in order to challenge Sharon, although he might consider a better time to challenge Sharon as wars tend to favor incumbents in office.

(Voice of America) The victory is a coup for Mr. Sharon, who has proven time and again that he is a political survivor. He outmaneuvered his hawkish opponents and evacuated Jewish settlers from Gaza. And even though he went against the wishes of his own party, he managed to get a vote of confidence. One reason is that Likud members feared a split that would topple the party from power.

Ariel Sharon must feel like "a million bucks," after defeating not only his rival in the party but cementing his grip upon the Israeli political scene. With his party "publicly" behind him, Hamas humiliated and his meeting with Abbas "up in the air," it looks as if Ariel Sharon is going to enjoy a good week to the dismay of those who loath him.

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By Darnell Clayton • 8:52 PM • Email Post • •


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